Monday, June 9, 2014

Lake Erie 100 Mile Triathlon Race Recap - Swim Leg

If you are new around here, I break my long distance triathlons up into three race recaps (swim, bike, run). It keeps things entertaining, and that way I don't go on and on in one post. 100 miles is a long way, and I have a lot of things to say about it!

 All of our stuff for the race

On Friday, Mike and I drove to Geneva State Park in Ohio and we met our friend, Rob, there. He came to support us at the race and it was really great having him there. We were a little early so we walked down to the beach and stuck our feet in the water, it wasn't cold at all!

 Lake Erie, where we'd be swimming the next day

After picking up our packets, which didn't take any time at all, we went to the hotel to check-in and found a place to eat dinner. We ended up going to Little Italy, and while the food was good the entertainment provided by our waiter was better. Let's just say he was feeling a little "jazzy" that evening.

After appropriately carb-loading, we all went back to the hotel and Mike and I got our stuff ready while we all just hung out. Then around 10pm, it was time for bed.

Luckily, since the hotel was pretty close to the race start and transition didn't open until 5:45am, we didn't have to wake up until 5am. When the alarm went off, after a decent night's sleep, we both got ready quickly and started to bring our stuff down to the car. As we were walking outside, we saw Rob. He was nervous that we weren't awake yet since I had said we were going to leave around that time.

After packing up the car and checking out of the hotel, Mike and I drove to the park for the race.

 Race morning!

When we got there, we noticed how few cars there were in the parking lot. Rob got there a little bit after we did and then Mike and I started to set up our transition areas. It didn't take too long, but we had to fill all of our water bottles, set out our bike and run stuff, nutrition, etc.

After I was done, I went over to body marking and got my timing chip. As I was walking back to the parking lot a fellow triathlete, a woman, said to me, "so there are only four women, I thought we should get to know each other" and then she introduced herself. I had noticed that I was the only female athlete, so far, and then she said, "there are only 30 of us total". I knew that it was going to be a day of mental toughness and preparation for our Ironman for when things get tough.

When Mike came over from body marking, I told him how many participants there were (and really there were only 20 of us total for all three races - triathlon, duathlon, aquabike) and pretty soon it was time for the pre-race meeting.

Bob, the race director, described the course, the support, and the aid that would be out there. Since Mike and I have volunteered for the Lake Ontario 100 Mile Triathlon, we knew Bob and Ken, the fellow race director, and it was nice to see them and actually race one of their races.

Transition closed at 7am, but the race didn't start until 7:30am. I used the bathroom one more time, talked to Ken for a second and then got my wetsuit on. Around 7:15am, Mike, Rob and I walked down to the beach where the swim would start and then Mike and I got ready to go.

 Before the start of the swim, we're in the front

Bob came down and said that they were going to count us in and one by one we got into the water. There were about 17 of us total (triathlon and aquabike) and we were all just chatting before the race. Barb, the other triathlon female participant, was talking to us about our Ironman and other races. It was very relaxed and even though we were all "competing" against each other, everyone was really friendly.

Then, I heard Barb say, "did he say wait for the horn?" and then the horn sounded! We were off and swimming and starting our 100 mile journey!

Right away, Mike and I were in the front. Our friend, Ali, had joked that I would be the first out of the water, but I said I would aim for first female (before realizing how small the race was) since it was a mass start.

The swim was a simple course. We swam past the first buoy and then turned to the left to go out two more buoys. The water was a great temperature and the surface was relatively calm. I knew that everyone else was behind me (except for Mike) and I just focused on keeping a good pace.

I got to the second buoy pretty quickly, and then it felt like the swim was taking FOR.EV.ER.

Mike and I recently got Garmin 910xt watches, and we had set them to multisport mode so I was wearing it in the water. I looked at it sometime after the second buoy and it had only been 11 minutes, so I told myself that it wasn't taking forever but the third buoy was SO FAR AWAY. I thought, what if it is moving away from us!?

I could kind of make out Mike's cap and his splashes and I just kept sighting off of the buoy in the distance. Eventually, I made it to the third buoy and made the turn for home.

At this point, the sun was in my eyes and I couldn't see very well. I just tried to swim in as straight of a line as possible. There were other triathletes making their way toward the buoy and I just tried to not run into them (but I couldn't really see). When I got by the second buoy, I looked at my watch again and it said I had already gone .91 miles. I had further than .09 to go, though, so I just kept pushing. I couldn't really see Mike at all until I made my diagonal turn toward the beach.

As I got closer, I'm pretty sure I saw that Mike was out of the water and I just focused on swimming as fast as possible. I could see spectators and volunteers on the beach, luckily because I had nothing else to sight off of, and then FINALLY I was out of the water and running up the beach!

Rob was cheering me on and when I looked at my watch it said 1.28ish and I told him, "that was a little long". Mike also got 1.25 miles on his watch, so we think that the course was a bit long. Either way, we were first and second out of the water, not a bad start to the day!

 I look like I'm contemplating life, not being quick in transition!

When I crossed the mat into transition, I hit my "lap" button on my watch and then got my wetsuit off. Well, I got one leg off and then struggled to get the other off. Eventually, I did and Ken was outside of transition and told me that I did great. Just as I was getting ready to leave transition, the third swimmer came in and said, "were you first out of the water?!" and I said, "no, I was second my husband was first". And then I told Ken, "well if I had to be second to anyone I guess I'm alright with it being Mike".

Then I grabbed my bike, and ran out of transition, I was ready for the next 99 miles!

Swim Leg (1 Mile) - Jamie: 32:13, Mike: 28:57
Transition 1 - Jamie: 1:59, Mike: 2:35


  1. Great job! A triathlon is something that I have always wanted to do... but for some reason totally intimidates me. I can run. I can swim. I can bike. But mixing them together all in a row seems super hard! :)

  2. Yes!!!!!!!!! Way to dominate! :)

  3. Oh. Can't wait to hear how the rest of this goes. I haven't read your DM posts on purpose. Great start to both of you!

  4. That looks gorgeous! Lake Erie is so pretty :) Sounds like the first leg went well!!

  5. One-two punch out of the water--that's awesome!

  6. Wow. You two are quite the team.
    First guy and girl out! woohoo

  7. Sounds like you're off to a great start. Waiting to hear more...

  8. Great write up so far. You did amazing as the gap for the swim was pretty big. I still can not believe only 22 out of 30 showed up for the race.

  9. I love reading race reports. Great details! I was hoping that some others thought the swim was long. It was either long, or I was swimming slower than usual. I also had lots of trouble sighting on the way back. You had a great swim....I think my time was around 37 minutes and I am usually near the front of the women.

  10. Woohoo!!! I'm SO happy to finally read the details. Although I was already aware of how awesome you guys are. WOOT WOOT!!